A sub-standard response to disruption has the potential to severely damage your airline’s bottom line.
The drone activity that caused the cancellation of over 1,000 flights at London Gatwick in December 2018 cost airlines an eye-watering $70 million in just 33 hours, for example.
When things go wrong, one of the first problems many airlines face is being unable to let all their passengers know their flight has been disrupted and what their re-accommodation options are.
And a rising number of indirect bookings is complicating things further.
While the recent update to IATA 830d should help to improve this trend, there is no quick and easy fix to ensure 100% of travellers are contacted in the event of disruption.
However, here at 15below we have developed solutions that enable airlines to reach significantly more passengers. Here are our five top tips:
As well as your reservation system, your airline likely has access to several data sources – such as loyalty programmes and CRM platforms. Why not mine these databases for information that will help you fill in the gaps in your reservation system?
While email and SMS may be most commonly used, there are dozens of channels that your passengers are now using to communicate with both their peers and businesses. Depending on personal preferences and regional trends, you’ll need to have a multi-channel strategy in order to reach your passengers. Some of the most popular channels include:
Businesses that invest in a multi-channel strategy typically enjoy a customer retention rate of 89%, compared with just 33% for those that do not.
Bespoke microsites offer passengers a chance to receive notifications about their flight via their preferred channel. Include a quick and simple form on your microsite and you’ll soon be receiving new passenger details to add to your database as travellers subscribe to ensure they are kept up-to-date.
And it’s not all about securing new contact details; microsites also offer an invaluable opportunity to update details you already hold, ensuring more successful notification sends.
Here is a microsite JetBlue deployed to gather new and updated passenger contact details that could be used to keep its passengers informed:
It’s easy to control the bookings made directly through your site, but you’ll know only too well that most cases of missing contact details are as a result of the 50% of bookings being made through travel agents or third parties. We’d recommend addressing the sharing of passenger details during initial negotiations with prospective vendors; perhaps even consider incentivising vendors to provide you with contact information, considering the ROI associated with having these details in your own database to avoid the costly backlash of public complaints by customers who believe you had a duty to keep them informed.
If all else fails, you have one last opportunity to ask passengers to provide their contact details when they check-in. Make sure your online check-in platform supports this function and that travellers are made aware of the advantages of providing contact information.
During the stressful and frustrating moments that accompany any flight delay or cancellation, you can run the risk of customer loyalty being lost and negative reviews being shared if you leave passengers to queue, contact your call centre or work out a solution for themselves.
A recent study by IATA found 54% of travellers named real-time, accurate travel notifications as the service that could most improve their experience during disruption, while 46% said they would also like to be automatically re-booked and issued with new boarding passes in such circumstances.
In the age of customer experience, airlines that fail to meet their passengers’ expectations with personalised, real-time notifications, particularly when things go wrong, will be left behind by their competitors.
Indeed, by 2020, customer experience is predicted to overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator and best-in-class airlines are already investing heavily in new solutions and processes to empower and inform travellers at every stage of their journey.